ALWAYS IT SEEMS A SOLITUDE AWAY
Always it seems a solitude away
from what I think I’m looking for.
Every step along the path, a precipice.
Another black hole in the middle of a third eye.
Call me Icarus. Even at sixty four
breaking out of one cosmic egg after another,
only to fall like a fledgling from the nest
at my own rootless standing in the world
or be swallowed whole by some reptile
like the moon and be regurgitated,
a used condom, a candling parachute,
a lunar phase of a snake shedding its skin.
At one point in his life he was so intense
he was the mainspring of a wind-up waterclock
or a pulse, now he’s hanging on
like a single wavelength to a mindstream
that’s flattened out into a perma-press abyss,
no crests, no troughs. The gas furnace
shudders when it dry coughs, a cold engine
trying to make a new start like a nightbird
in a dead tree in a frozen swamp. Shhhh
don’t wake the mosquitoes up. I’m still
trying to get over the welts of my last exposure
to the literary scene. I don’t want my blood thinned
at either end of the food chain. Doomed to drown,
let it be in something deep, not shallow.
Let my shipwreck lie in peace on seafloors of starmud
not tidal pools or puddles. I want to give God
a good scare for once because love doesn’t have
an accumulative effect. Too much beginning
not enough death. You can’t learn to breathe
by holding your breath. Here comes the dawn
like a janitor to a school for remedial living.
But what more does an ageing red-tailed hawk
have to say to the seagulls and pigeons,
aeronautical opportunists who can’t help
flapping and hovering the way they do
over the rooftops and fire hydrants
of a garbage dump that takes pride in its waste,
than a switchblade’s got to relate to a drawer full of cutlery?
What do the butter knives know about clawing
their way through life with the talons of eagles?
Or being so clear-eyed since you first broke
into this house of life, you leave so little evidence behind,
investigators arrest a mirror in a case of mistaken identity?
Or asked to give witness from your upstairs apartment window,
about what you saw on the night of the wolf moon,
you speak like the cloud cover of a screening myth
because the stars weren’t out and you spent the night
by yourself looking eyelessly down on the street
where nothing ever, ever, ever happens
and the streetlamps only quarrel among themselves
in the summer when the fireflies get away with everything
like freelance constellations on a starmap, and they get the blame
though they’ve gone straight all their lives?
Nights like this, things get so weird
I can hear the future calling to me like a seance.
And Cassiopoeia had she appeared would have
looked like an electric chair in a brown out of shining
that must have come like Jupiter
as a big disappointment to the sun.